Pruning of small fruit crops can affect habitat suitability for Drosophila suzukii

Torsten Schöneberg, Arielle Arsenault-Benoit, Christopher M. Taylor, Bryan R. Butler, Daniel T. Dalton, Vaughn M. Walton, Andrew Petran, Mary A. Rogers, Lauren M. Diepenbrock, Hannah J. Burrack, Heather Leach, Steven Van Timmeren, Philip D. Fanning, Rufus Isaacs, Brian E. Gress, Mark P. Bolda, Frank G. Zalom, Craig R. Roubos, Richard K. Evans, Ashfaq A. SialKelly A. Hamby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Insect activity, survival, and development are affected by climatic conditions that elicit effects at multiple scales. Pruning small fruit crop canopies alters the microclimate, which in turn may influence insect pest activity. We investigated the effect of three canopy density treatments (high, medium, low) on Drosophila suzukii (Matsumura) (Diptera: Drosophilidae) fruit infestation in blueberries and caneberries using a two-year, multi-state experiment. We quantified the effect of canopy density on canopy microclimate, fruit quality (total soluble solids, fruit firmness), and yield. To better understand heterogeneity in canopy microclimate, parameters were further separated by canopy location (exterior vs. interior) in Maryland. In both crops, meta-analyses reveal small magnitude effects of the plant canopy on microclimate, whereas analysis of variance did not separate these effects, with mean canopy differences of 0.1–0.7 °C and 0.5–1.3 % relative humidity (RH) between caneberry canopy densities and locations. In caneberry multi-state trials, 0.14 fewer D. suzukii larvae (g fruit)−1 occurred on average in the low canopy density treatment, and 0.2 fewer D. suzukii larvae (g fruit)−1 occurred in exterior raspberries in Maryland compared with the canopy interior. Artificially infested blueberry fruit indicated immature D. suzukii survival within fruit can vary across canopy densities and locations. Although lower total yield was produced in low density canopies, canopy density did not influence berry quality or marketable yield. Microhabitats provide important shelter from extreme environmental conditions; the availability of shelter and ability to locate it affects insect pest populations and distributions. Understanding how crop canopy microclimate affects D. suzukii infestation can inform efforts to develop habitat manipulation tactics and improve the efficiency of fruit production.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number106860
JournalAgriculture, Ecosystems and Environment
StatePublished - Jun 1 2020



  • Blackberry
  • Blueberry
  • Canopy microclimate
  • Cultural management
  • Raspberry
  • Spotted-wing drosophila

Cite this

Schöneberg, T., Arsenault-Benoit, A., Taylor, C. M., Butler, B. R., Dalton, D. T., Walton, V. M., Petran, A., Rogers, M. A., Diepenbrock, L. M., Burrack, H. J., Leach, H., Van Timmeren, S., Fanning, P. D., Isaacs, R., Gress, B. E., Bolda, M. P., Zalom, F. G., Roubos, C. R., Evans, R. K., ... Hamby, K. A. (2020). Pruning of small fruit crops can affect habitat suitability for Drosophila suzukii. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 294, [106860].